Cahill to rescue of misfiring Kewell

Everton midfielder suggests Goodison move for Aussie compatriot from across the park
Click to follow
The Independent Online

Everton's Australian midfield player Tim Cahill believes his club should buy his compatriot Harry Kewell from neighbours Liverpool if Rafael Benitez decides to offload the misfiring winger.

Everton's Australian midfield player Tim Cahill believes his club should buy his compatriot Harry Kewell from neighbours Liverpool if Rafael Benitez decides to offload the misfiring winger.

Kewell, who is currently embroiled in a libel action against the television presenter Gary Lineker over the latter's column in the Sunday Telegraph, has struggled for fitness and form since joining Liverpool from Leeds United two years ago. It therefore came as a shock when he was granted a starting berth in last month's Champions' League final against Milan. After he had been substituted at his own request midway through the first half, the patience of Liverpool fans finally snapped and Kewell was booed off the pitch at the Ataturk Stadium, raising questions about his future at the club.

However, Cahill has backed his Australian international team-mate to regain his form and fitness following an end-of-season operation on his long-standing groin injury. "I want to make it quite clear that Harry has nothing to prove to anyone, and if Liverpool don't want him then we'll have him," said the Everton player.

"He's been injured and I think he's been too honest in coming back too early and wanting to play for his club and wanting to do a job for Liverpool.

"The kid is a great footballer and everyone knows that. If Liverpool don't want him there will be clubs lining up for him left, right and centre.

"What he has done in the game speaks for itself. But sometimes things don't happen for you, and I think Harry just needs a bit of a break and he'll definitely come back with flying colours.

"When you're injured, you're injured. You can't do anything about it, so I think it's easy to pick faults with players and look for scapegoats. I think 'H' just needs to enjoy his summer and come back next year fit."

In stark contrast to Kewell, Cahill has proved a revelation since his arrival on Merseyside. The 25-year-old joined Everton in a £1.5m switch from Millwall last summer before scoring 12 vital goals to help inspire David Moyes's men to Champions' League qualification with fourth place in the Premiership.

He is currently in Germany preparing for the Confed-erations Cup, with the Socceroos facing the hosts on Wednesday before further testing fixtures against fellow group opponents Argentina and Tunisia.

The Sydney-born player, who helped Australia to a hard-fought 1-0 victory against New Zealand at Craven Cottage on Thursday night, is then set to feature in Everton's two-legged Champions' League third-round qualifier to complete a hectic summer.

He said: "I can't complain about that. I love playing football, whether it's for Everton or my country, and I'd never turn down playing for my country. I think you regret it if you don't come to competitions like the Confederations Cup, because it means the world to all the lads."

While Kewell and the Middlesbrough striker Mark Viduka have seen their careers stymied by injury this season, Cahill has arguably become Australia's biggest name after an outstanding season at Goodison Park, where he was named player of the season by the supporters. He attributes his success to the Australia coach, Frank Farina, who is under pressure to lead the side out of the group stages of the Confederations Cup before the crucial two-legged World Cup play-off against the Solomon Islands in September.

Farina, in charge of the Socceroos for six years, played a key role in ensuring a policy change by Fifa that allowed Cahill to play for Australia despite representing Samoa at youth level. Cahill said: "I've got great respect for him. If it wasn't for Frank I don't think I'd be here today."

Meanwhile, Viduka could soon be on his way to rivals Newcastle. The 29-year-old Australia international managed only 21 appearances and seven goals for Middlesbrough last season after his £4.5m switch from Leeds, and played just 10 minutes of football after Christmas. It is understood that the manager, Steve McClaren, could be persuaded to part with him at the right price after setting up Aiyegbeni Yakubu's £7.5m move from Portsmouth.

Newcastle have spent the last few months attempting to find replacements for Craig Bellamy, who has been told he will not play for the club under Graeme Souness, and Patrick Kluivert, who has left St James' Park for Valencia.

Comments